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Champions Blu-ray Review

“Champions” doesn’t bring much new to the table, but it still wins you over. 

2023’s “Champions” is a remake of the 2018 Spanish film “Campeones.” The Mark Rizzo scripted sports-comedy revolves around a basketball Iowa J League assistant coach (Marcus) whose life is in the dumps. He gets into an argument with the head coach, gets fired, and then gets a DUI. During sentencing, Marcus has the option of serving jail time or 90 days of community service coaching a team of people with intellectual disabilities. He opts for the latter. At first, he seems more concerned with landing another professional gig, but Marcus finds this coaching experience changing his life and expanding his coaching skills for the better. Not only does he get to know the players (a trait he didn’t have before), but he also develops a serious relationship with the sister (Alex) of one of the players (Johnny). On top of that, he just might be able to take his rag-tag team (the Friends) to the highest stage. 

Bobby Farrelly (the brother of Peter Farrelly) returns to the theatrical world with a solo comedy film. Much like the Farrelly Brothers movies of yesteryear, there are some raunchy and dopey comedic hijinks here and there, but for the most part, this is a very earnest and often dramatic feel-good sports movie. As you may have noticed from the plot summary, the movie is riddled with sports movie cliches and the plot is extremely reminiscent of “The Mighty Ducks” to be sure. If you can look past that though, you’ll find yourself getting swept up by this heartfelt comedy. 

You may have noticed the 124 minute runtime. While the length is excessive for such a straightforward tale (not to mention a comedy), it works in its favor as writer Mike Rizzo actually takes time with the characters. Not only do Marcus and Alex and their relationship get time to breathe, but the players get a significant amount of screen time too both on and off the court such as Johnny, Marlon, and Darius. It was rewarding to see characters being developed so much instead of just serving as one-note characters. 

Speaking of the characters, the cast is what really makes this film work as well as it does. Woody Harrelson (who plays Marcus) does a fine job leading the film, but you expect nothing less from the always reliable and versatile actor. Kaitlin Olson (best known for “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”) steals the movie as the charismatic and whip-smart Shakespearean actor Alex. Casey Metcalfe shows great comedic timing as Marlon. Madison Tevlin is entirely memorable as the scene-stealing Cosentino. Joshua Felder gives a very moving performance as Darius (the best player on the team). Kevin Iannucci shines as Johnny. Other highlights include Cheech Marin, Matt Cook, Ernie Hudson, and James Day Keith. Really though everyone is good in their respective roles here. It’s a talented ensemble to be sure. 


Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. Grade: A-

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Grade: A-

* Digital copy
* 12 deleted scenes
* Commentary by director Bobby Farrelly.
* “Casting The Friends”- A collection of audition tapes, filmed videos, and outtakes from the cast members.
* “Keeping It Friendly”- A featurette with interviews, set footage, and discussions about the cast and production.
* “Woody And The Team”- A brief featurette about Woody Harrelson bonding with the cast.


May 1, 2023 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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